Word of the day


Autolatry – self-worship.



6/10 in the Herald’s news quiz – better than this morning’s travel quiz but still room for improvement.

Good question


The tax advisor had just read the story of Cinderella to his four-year-old daughter for the first time.

The little girl was fascinated by the tale, especially the part where the pumpkin turns into a golden coach.

Suddenly she piped up, “Daddy, when the pumpkin turned into a golden coach, would that be classed as income or a long-term capital gain?”

It’s a joke but it does raise a serious point about the complexities of a capital gains tax – ambiguities and complexity create loopholes.

I’m not against a CTG in theory but I am opposed to Labour’s proposal for very good reasons:

We should be aiming at a reduction in taxes not an increase.

Complicated taxes cost too much to administer and divert time, energy and money from productive activity to avoidance strategies.

We need to remove compliance costs and other barriers to productivity not increase them.

Those with sympathy for Labour’s proposal should the truth behind these jokes:

The difference between simple and complex taxes is clear:  If you have simple ones the government gets your money. If you have complex ones, the tax advisor gets your money.

For every tax problem there is a solution which is straightforward, uncomplicated and wrong.

How do you know you’ve met a good tax accountant?
S/he has a loophole named after her/him.

A fine is a tax for doing something wrong.  A tax is a fine for doing something right.

And anyone swayed by the results of the Herald DigiPoll survey which shows 16.5% of peole strongly in favour and  21.4% moderately in favour oc Labour’s CTG should consider the words of Geroge Bernard Shaw:

The government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.



No excuses – a sorry 3/10 in the Herald’s travel quiz.

Thieving bs


When we were planning to be away from home for nearly a month I wondered whether or not I’d blog about our travels.

The chances of some low-life reading this blog, knowing where we live, that the house would be empty most of the time and acting on it were remote. But I decided that even with staff living near by it would be better not to advertise our absence.

As it was, we did have a theft from our property while we were away, although strictly speaking it wasn’t of our property.

We felled a lot of trees earlier this year, sold what timber we could and were left with a pile of scrappy wood not good enough to sell but fine for fires.

Several people have been taking it with our permission and one couple was out last Monday cutting it up. They finished with a couple of trailer loads but had only one trailer so left a pile of wood to collect the following day.

When they returned on Tuesday they found some thieving bs had stolen the lot. It was fairly close to the house, in the paddock in the photo featured at the top of the page. That makes us think the theft was done by someone who knew we weren’t here which has left us feeling both angry and uneasy.

If the sort of people who steal like this think about consequences they’d probably reckon it’s the type of crime we wouldn’t bother reporting. But one thing the thieves didn’t know was that the bloke from whom they stole the wood is a policeman – and he’s not a very happy one now either.

Conduct unbecoming of a candidate


A political party candidate had arranged for a commercial sign writer to do some work for his campaign material.

The sign writer provided a quote, which was agreed to, did the work and sent an account.

Some three months later the candidate walked into the sign writer’s office with his cheque book and started arguing about the price.

The time to argue about the price is when the quote is given, not three months after the work has been completed and the bill sent.

This is unbecoming conduct for any customer and it’s especially poor behaviour from someone aspiring to public office.

Just as well the candidate’s chance of winning the seat for which s/he’s standing are even slimmer than the sign writer agreeing to do any more work for her/him.


The reason I haven’t identified the candidate or her/his party is that I got this story second-hand. But I wouldn’t have posted on it had I not had total confidence in my source.

July 30 in history


762  Baghdad was founded.

1419  First Defenestration of Prague.

1502 Christopher Columbus landed at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras during his fourth voyage.


1549 Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, was born (d. 1609).


1608  Samuel de Champlain shot and killed two Iroquois chiefs which set the tone for FrenchIroquois relations for the next 100 years.


1619  The first representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convened for the first time.


1629  An earthquake in Naples killed 10,000 people.

1733  The first Masonic Grand Lodge in what became the United States was constituted in Massachusetts.

1756 Bartolomeo Rastrelli presented the newly-built Catherine Palace to Empress Elizabeth and her courtiers.


1811  Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, leader of the Mexican insurgency, was executed by the Spanish.

Miguel Hidalgo.jpg

1818 Emily Brontë, English novelist, was born (d. 1848).


1825 Malden Island was discovered.


1859 First ascent of Grand Combin.

1863 Henry Ford, American industrialist, was born (d. 1947).


1863 Indian Wars: Chief Pocatello of the Shoshone tribe signed the Treaty of Box Elder, agreeing to stop the harassment of emigrant trails in southern Idaho and northern Utah.

1864 American Civil War: Battle of the Crater – Union forces attempt edto break Confederate lines at Petersburg, Virginia by exploding a large bomb under their trenches.

Battle of the Crater.jpeg

1866 New Orleans’s Democratic government ordered police to raid an integrated Republican Party meeting, killing 40 people and injuring 150.

1871  The Staten Island Ferry Westfield’s boiler exploded, killing over 85 people.


1893 Fatima Jinnah, Pakistani Mother of the Nation, was born (d. 1967).

1898 Henry Moore, English sculptor, was born (d. 1986).


1916  Black Tom Island explosion in Jersey City.

1925 Alexander Trocchi, Scottish writer, was born (d. 1984).


1926 Christine McGuire, American singer (The McGuire Sisters), was born.

1930  Uruguay won the first Football World Cup.

 1932  Premiere of Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award winning cartoon short.


1935 Ted Rogers, English comedian and game show host, was born (d. 2001).

1940 Sir Clive Sinclair, English entrepreneur and inventor (pocket calculator, home computer), was born.


1941 Paul Anka, Canadian singer and composer, was born.


1945   Japanese submarine I-58 sank the USS Indianapolis, killing 883 seamen.


1947 Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-born American actor and 38th Governor of California, was born.


1950 Frank Stallone, American singer and actor, was born.

1953  Rikidōzan held a ceremony announcing the establishment of the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance.

1956  A joint resolution of the U.S. Congress was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, authorizing In God We Trust as the U.S. national motto.


1958 Kate Bush, English singer/songwriter, was born.

1958 Daley Thompson, English decathlete, was born.

1965  US President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid.

1969 Vietnam War: US President Richard M. Nixon made an unscheduled visit to South Vietnam and met  President Nguyen Van Thieu and U.S. military commanders.

1971  Apollo 15 Mission – David Scott and James Irwin on Apollo Lunar Module module, Falcon, landed with first Lunar Rover on the moon.


1971  An All Nippon Airways Boeing 727 and a Japanese Air Force F-86 collided over Morioka killing 162.

1974  Watergate Scandal: US President Richard M. Nixon released subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the United States Supreme Court.

1974  Six Royal Canadian Army Cadetswere  killed and fifty-four injured in an accidental grenade blast at CFB Valcartier Cadet Camp.

1975  Three members of the Miami Showband and two gunmen were killed during a botched paramilitary attack in Northern Ireland.

1978  The 730 (transport), Okinawa changed its traffic on the right-hand side of the road to the left-hand side.


1979 Carless days were introduced in New Zealand to combat the second oil shock.

Carless days introduced

1980 Vanuatu gained independence.

1980  Israel’s Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law

1997  Eighteen lives were lost in the Thredbo Landslide.

2003  In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the assembly line.


2006 World’s longest running music show Top of the Pops was broadcast for the last time on BBC Two after 42 years.

Top of the Pops 2003.jpg

2006 Lebanon War: At least 28 civilians, including 16 children were killed by the Israeli Air Force in what Lebanese call the Second Qana massacre.


2009 A bomb exploded in Palma Nova, Mallorca, killing 2 police officers. Basque separatist group ETA was believed to be responsible.

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